George Block Column
When it comes to reloading, know the facts
I am sure there are many reloaders who load their own cartridges in an attempt to save money. I believe there are at least an equal number that load their own seeking better accuracy. John has a saying, “If you don’t reload, you don’t understand what is going on when you pull the trigger.”
I hate to admit it, but I agree.
After many years of putting my own ammunition together, I realize not everyone understands when I mention barrel twist or length of throat. Angle of leads affects accuracy as does seating depth. You slowly absorb the fact that bullet weight and powder charge are just a small part of the equation.
A rifle maker might long throat – it’s sometimes called freebore – its rifles to increase powder charge and velocity, but does the bullet tilt a bit when jumping unsupportive from the case to the rifling? This question is more appropriate when a bullet is a boat tail design. Sometimes, it gets complicated.
One of the most common questions heard at the club bench is, “What’s the velocity?”
Speed not only adds not only to terminal energy, which is power, but creates a fatter trajectory. In other words, it makes hitting at longer range easier and hits harder when it gets there.
Personally, I want accuracy and speed, but sometimes must give up a bit of one for the other. It was a few weeks before deer season, a period my friend calls amateur hour because people who never touch their rifle all year start coming out of the woodwork.
A fellow I know was sitting at a nearby bench sighting in his short barreled .243. I knew he had loaded and asked his load. I have loaded for this round for more than 50 years and feel I know it well. When he told me the bullet weight and powder charge, I couldn’t hold it in, I told him he wasn’t shooting a .243, but a 25-20. He said, “No, it’s a .243. Normal loads move a 100-grain bullet about 2,900 to 3,000 feet per second, much like the old underpowered 25-20. He said he didn’t like heavy loads.
Load a 150 grain bullet to 2,200 fps in a 30-06 and you are imitating a 30-30.
When I shoot a .270, I want it to be acting like a .270. But I also want tight groups. Doesn’t everyone? In most instances, a good reload will outshoot a factory load. Why? Well, the factory round is a compromise made to work in all guns of that chambering.
Usually, pressures are kept low enough that the ammo from the factory is safe, even in very old designs. The handloader is loading for his rifle. His rifle, not anyone’s rifle. The powder charge and type suits that single rifle as does the bullet. Each charge is carefully measured with an accurate powder measure or balance beams, one works on volumes, the other weight. Equally important is care of the empty case.
To sum up, each case should be the same as the others. Flash Holes, neck thickness and evenness, primer pocket depth are things that should match case to case. If they do not, the discrepancies should be corrected. That means each case in the box should be the same brand for there is a difference from make to make.
When loading one’s own, you can adjust the setting of the depth of the bullet to where there is a minimum of free jump to the rifling within magazine length limits. There are many other adjustments that can be made. That’s why we load our own.
Give it a try.
George Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.